Enter the Pentagon ‘Matrix’, shape shifting robots and the militarization of space

The Pentagon’s way-out researchers don’t just want to build an Internet simulator, to test out cyberwar tactics. They want the range’s operators to “realistically replicate human behavior and frailties,” too.

Congress has ordered the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, to put together a National Cyber Range, as part of a massive (andmassively secret) $30 billion, government-wide effort better prep for battle online. The project is now considered a top priority for the Agency.  And to make sure the facility is as true-to-life as possible, Darpa wants the contractors running the Range to be able to “replicate realistic human behavior on nodes,” a request for proposals, released today, reveals.

Specifically, the Agency wants to have its contractors:

•    Provide robust technologies to emulate human behavior on all nodes of the range for testing all aspects of range behavior.
•    Replicants will produce realistic chain of events between many users without explicit scripting behavior.
•    Replicants must be capable of implementing multiple user roles similar to roles found on operational networks.
•    Replicant behavior will change as the network environment changes, as the replicated “outside environment” (i.e. DoD DefCon, InfoCon, execution of war plans, etc) changes, and as network activity changes (detected attacks, degradation of services, etc).
•    Replicants will simulate physical interaction with device peripherals, such as keyboard and mice.
•    Replicants will drive all common applications on a desktop environments.
•    Replicants will interact with authenticate systems, including but not limited to DoD authentication systems (common access cards – CAC), identity tokens.

What I don’t understand is, does the Pentagon want the contractors to use human operators to be the simulated ‘replicants’, or are the replicants to be sophisticated AI (artificial intelligence) software?

Either way, this doesn’t sound good. ‘Terminator’ or ‘Matrix’, pick your poison.

Pentagon Wants Cyberwar Range to ‘Replicate Human Behavior and Frailties’ 

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When the United States recently shot apart a crippled spy satellite over the Pacific Ocean, it also tested an offensive anti-satellite weapon and the potential for ballistic missile defense. “The shot,” as the Pentagon called the $100 million operation conducted on February 20, came immediately after Russia and China put forward a detailed, but flawed, proposal for a treaty to ban space weapons at the United Nations. In response, the United States immediately reaffirmed its unwillingness to participate in any arms control accord covering space.

These developments are just the latest wrinkles in a rapidly unfolding saga that underscores the fact that we’re entering a new strategic era characterized by the weaponization of space. It may sound exciting, but the potential consequences of space weaponization are cataclysmic.

I agree with the article, the U.S. government firmly believes they have the upper-hand here, and they might. 

For a while.

China demonstrated earlier last year they can do the same thing, almost. 

But don’t count on them being behind for very long. Government and corporate espionage is a very lucrative business.

Arms Race in Space

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HOW would you like to have your very own shape-shifter? Perhaps a liquid metal T-1000 Terminator to help around the house. Or a universal tool kit that could reshape itself into any implement at the press of a button. For an astronaut in orbit, an army mechanic in remote terrain or even a homeowner trying to fix a furnace on a cold winter night, it could be just the thing.

Well, one day maybe. The traditional approach to building shape-shifting devices has been to use materials based on shape memory alloys, polymer sheets or nanoparticles. But these have proved difficult to control and have other limitations, so researchers have begun taking a different and less exotic tack.

More Terminator stuff coming, DARPA has been very busy lately.

And don’t count on these guys coming to fix your furnace anytime soon, the Pentagon has big plans for these things first.

Shape-shifting robots take form

Big time hat tip to Red Ice Creations.

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